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Traveling to Cuba can be a mesmerizing experience. Just 90 miles from the coast of Florida, the tense bilateral relationship and the U.S. embargo have kept many Americans from visiting the island over the last 5 decades. The Cuban people, however, await U.S. visitors with open arms, ready to share their culture and history with their guests. Cuba's many advances in education, health and the social sciences, as well as our cultural affinities, means that we have a lot to learn from each other. Traveling to Cuba provides Americans with the opportunity to learn side-by-side with Cubans about issues of mutual interest, and share insight into issues that confront our two nations.
Yes, certain categories of travel to Cuba are permitted, such as educational and people-to-people trips to the island. Havana Culinary and Culture works with you to develop an itinerary in Cuba that is fully licensable under the guidelines outlined by the United States Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). All travel through Havana Culinary and Culture is fully authorized, licensed and legal.
The U.S. government authorizes people-to-people visits to Cuba, in which travelers are required to have a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that will result in meaningful interactions between travelers and individuals in Cuba. Our people-to-people license (No. CT-2013-300203-1) allows Havana Culinary and Culture to coordinate legal travel for Americans to meet the Cuban people and learn about Cuban society. We also work closely with Cuba Educational Travel, another people-to-people license holder (No. CT-2012-294261-1) so that all of our trips are fully licensed by the U.S. Government.
You should travel with us if you want the genuine Cuban experience. Havana Culinary and Culture has years of experience arranging custom trips for small groups that want to experience a specific aspect of Cuban society, and/or receive a general overview of contemporary life on the island. Unlike the other Cuba travel groups, Havana Culinary and Culture prides itself on small group size, intimate interactions and off-the-beaten-track adventures during its visits. Our strong relationships with Cuba's diverse communities mean you will meet the most interesting, influential and kindest Cubans and visit the most important sites.
Cuba is a unique country where it helps to blend in, escaping overcrowded tourist stops, and truly interact with locals, learning firsthand what they think about culture, history and society. Other people-to-people groups often exceed 30 participants; way too many to really speak one-on-one with average Cubans, venture into local neighborhoods and get honest feedback from locals about their way of life. They often lack the know-how and connections, all too often resulting in generic site visits and interactions.
We, on the other hand, pride ourselves on maximizing your interaction with local Cubans and offering the true Cuban experience. Our groups are much smaller - averaging below 15 people - and we lead you to the places most tourists never see, and connect you with the people most tourists never meet. The size of the group determines whether you see the real Cuba or not, and we make sure that you do.
Havana Culinary and Culture wants your Cuba visit to be an enjoyable, interesting and rewarding experience from the beginning. We will handle everything from airfare, visas and medical insurance to backstage passes to the most sought after shows and musical performances. From the beginning, Havana Culinary and Culture works with you to customize your trip, allowing you to select the site visits, cities, individuals and themes you find most interesting. All you need to do is convey your interests and desires to us before and during your trip and we will make sure you get exactly what you need.
If you have an interest in Cuba, whether specific or general, or just love meeting interesting people and exploring new cultures, our trips are right for you. Our general sign-on trips will give you a taste of everything (art, politics, history, etc.) and a good view of 21st Century Cuba. Our customized trips are designed to fit your needs, meaning we put together a fun, exciting and informative itinerary based on your specific interests.
Some examples of trips that Havana Culinary and Culture can arrange are: a study abroad program focusing on race and gender in Cuba, a group of friends that want to learn about Cuban music and arts, a family of history buffs that have always wanted to visit Cuba, an athletic team that wants to learn about Cuban sports and play a series of games against Cuban teams, a couple that has always wanted to learn about Cuba's nature reserves, individuals interested in Cuban health care. With Havana Culinary and Culture the possibilities are endless.
Please review this document, Cuba Travel Information, which outlines information on everything from baggage policies to crime and safety to cell phones and internet.